WORM 25 – Future Focus – with Epifania Queta

As the institute turns 25, WORM announces its new relationship with the world: Ultimate Playground. We encourage you to read all about our new plans here. Looking forward, looking back: we asked those who have experienced, and experiences of, WORM, to comment on how they see us in this transition year. Our first interview is with Epifania Queta. Epi was our Social Media Manager at the height of our Open City phase. Now she’s Head of Marketing for the city’s presitigious North Sea Round Town festival.

Epifania, you work in Rotterdam: can you tell us a bit about your relationship with the city?

EQ: I’ve been living and working in Rotterdam since just before the pandemic in 2019. Rotterdam felt a bit unknown for someone like me who had just spent the past 7 years in Manchester, UK. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and didn’t have any friends or connections here. But the way I was welcomed once I stepped foot in the creative scene of the city was quite unbelievable. A bunch of crazy young creatives would get together during the pandemic and connect with each other, talk and share ideas. It’s funny looking back at those times now, because I now get to actually work with these people and create in real life, not just in someone’s basement hoping the world will open up again soon. Rotterdam feels absolutely like home to me, especially because you don’t have to be from here to be a Rotterdammer. It’s just something you feel inside yourself, proud to be part of a community of hard workers.

And you worked here, too: can you remember your first impressions of the place?

EQ: Yes! I used to come to WORM quite often before I joined the team. I remember seeing my first gig there, KOKOKO! The energy was insane and I was just like wtf is this place? The weirdest venue I had ever seen and just strange vibes all over but somehow it felt comfortable and like a safe space. When I started working at WORM I actually came to the conclusion I wasn’t as weird as I thought, the people there were way worse! [Laughs.] And I loved that! WORM has always felt like my second home, even in the way I would just take my shoes off in the office and walk around with my furry socks. A place where I immediately felt like I was going to be able to develop myself as a creative. Because you are accepted exactly the way you are, not only that- this is what they would celebrate you for. Who wants to work with people that are all the same? Definitely not me.

Tell us a little bit about your activities: you are now at NSRT, right?

EQ: Yes, I started my career at WORM. Being involved in so many different PR/marketing related tasks and communities got me to where I am now. I currently work as the Head of Marketing and PR for North Sea Round Town, a jazz festival in Rotterdam which builds up to North Sea Jazz Festival.

…It’s incredible to once again get to work with passionate artists and meet influential people part of the creative music industry. I’ve definitely found my niche and this is all very much thanks to WORM. I had no idea I was going to end up doing what I am doing now, and I am glad I do, now! Next to that I’ve also helped out with Motel Mozaique’s marketing activities this year and I am part of the night council of Rotterdam. Where I work with council members to create more liveliness and creative hubs for the city. Without it, we are nothing.

You use WORM a lot, you have a radio show here (ClubWORM) and you are still involved as a visitor. How have you seen WORM develop, and operate, both from close up and in your peer group?

EQ: I’ve definitely seen WORM transform itself from DIY space to a more established venue with an international name. Definitely one of the big players in the city, if I say so myself. I definitely see people around me taking the venue a lot more seriously than before, I think it has been a great ‘broedplaats’ for a lot of creatives but I also think it’s really good to see that the venue is going in a different direction. Let’s never forget to play but I also think indeed to create a fertile playground WORM can take itself a bit more seriously and definitely still invite different communities to the venue.

Which of the three points of WORM’s new principles (found here in our Mission Statement) do you feel most attuned to, or affiliated with, when you use WORM?

EQ: I’d say Pleasure Activism – pleasure and enjoyment as values to fight for. I think because no matter how much fun we have at WORM, it all stems from somewhere. And I think that is knowing we fought and worked really hard to create such a unique space in the middle of the city that allows anyone to be and create what they want. I think that is still inherently part of activism. Standing up for values we find important, such as creativity and freedom. And next to that pleasure and enjoyment, because how lucky are we to be able to experience that when we walk into a venue such as WORM? When so many people around the world don’t get to experience that on a daily basis.

I could ramble on about this forever!


(Photograph:  Mark Bolk.)